SF Urban Forester Media Summary

We collect news and information relevant to the local urban forestry community.  In addition to posting the content below, we email it to anyone interested.  To receive these irregular (roughly twice monthly) email messages, just sign up here:

* indicates required

 






Huge Fossil Is Oldest Giant Flowering Tree in North America
by Michael Greshko, National Geographic, September 26, 2018
In a new study published on Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers present the oldest evidence of large flowering trees in North America. The record-breaking fossil is a petrified log nearly six feet wide and 36 feet long. Researchers say that the tree probably stood about 170 feet tall in life, making it twice as tall as Utah’s tallest living tree. The fossil tree trunk probably belongs to Paraphyllanthoxylon, an ancient genus known from other fossils. But this tree lived and died a full 15 million years before the next oldest North American fossils of large flowering trees. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Scientists thought they had created the perfect tree. But it became a nightmare.
by Adrian Higgins, The Washington Post, September 17, 2018
The U.S. Agriculture Department scientists who gave us the Bradford pear thought they were improving our world. It was upright and symmetric in silhouette. It exploded with white flowers when we most needed it, in early spring. Its glossy green leaves shimmered coolly in the summer heat, and in the fall, its foliage turned crimson, maroon and orange — a perfect New England study in autumnal color almost everywhere it grew. But like a comic book supervillain who had started off good, the Bradford pear crossed over to something darker. It turned from thornless to spiky, limber to brittle, chaste to promiscuous, tame to feral. Most of all, it became invasive. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Walk in the park: Cities fight climate change with greenery
by Gregory Scruggs, Thomson Reuters Foundation, September 13, 2018
As cities endeavor to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement to curb climate change, parks are a popular investment, experts said at the Global Climate Action Summit in California, an international gathering highlighting local government efforts to tackle climate change. In support of another nature-based climate change solution, 45 cities around the world committed Wednesday to using their municipal power to preserve and restore forests inside and outside their boundaries. The Cities4Forests initiative, announced at the San Francisco summit, will help cities measure their tree canopy and plan where to locate trees. (FULL STORY)

# # #

45 global cities join Cities4Forests initiative
by Kristin Musulin, Smart Cities Dive, September 13, 2018
Forty-five cities from six continents around the globe joined the Cities4Forests initiative on Wednesday in an effort to conserve and restore forests, promote clean air and water, and improve quality of life for city residents. By joining the initiative, cities commit to understanding their reliance on trees; to raising awareness of the benefits of forests; to harnessing “the power of forests” to achieve climate goals; to implementing new tools, policies and programs to meet climate goals; to engaging in the three Cities4Forests scales; and to sharing insights and experiences to mobilize action among other cities globally. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Fall’s a great time to plant trees and shrubs
by Lee Reich, Associated Press, September 11, 2018
Fall is a good time to plant trees and shrubs — the best time, in fact, for most of them. Whether you’re buying bare-root, balled-and-burlapped or containerized trees and shrubs, restrain yourself from buying the largest possible plant. In the case of the first two kinds of nursery plants, small plants suffer less root loss in transplanting. With smaller plants of any of the three kinds of nursery plants, less water is needed after planting, and new roots more quickly explore surrounding soil to make the plant self-sufficient. Not too long after transplanting, growth of an initially smaller plant frequently overtakes that of an initially larger one. (FULL STORY)

# # #

What’s in the Amazon box? Maybe a real 7-foot Christmas tree
by Joseph Pisani, Associated Press, September 11, 2018
Amazon plans to sell and ship fresh, full-size Christmas trees this year. Amazon says the Christmas trees, including Douglas firs and Norfolk Island pines, will be bound and shipped without water in the usual sort of box. Amazon said they’ll be sent within 10 days of being cut down, possibly even sooner, and should survive the shipping just fine. A 7-foot Fraser fir from a North Carolina farm will cost $115, according to an Amazon holiday preview book. Tim O’Connor, the executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association, said picking out a tree and hauling it back home is part of the fun for families. But Amazon has a history of shaking up shopping habits. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Giant trees to be removed from San Francisco’s Washington Square park
by Tom Vacar, KTVU, August 30, 2018
As much as San Francisco loves, nurtures and protects its trees, it will soon have to remove a very visible grove of them right in the middle of one of its busiest and most famous squares. The nine-decade old trees, which weigh many tons each, are now an official hazard. The towering Canary Island pines in San Francisco’s North Beach Washington Square Park will soon be gone. The City says it’s because the contractors who are building a new children’s park effectively weakened the trees and made them dangerous when digging into their roots to put in park apparatus. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Greening the Blues: Nature and Depression
by Yvonne Lynch, The Nature of Cities, August 20, 2018
Indeed, we intuitively know that green is good for our mental health, but just how good is it? The stress reduction/ supportive design theory posits that viewing or experiencing nature activates our parasympathetic nervous system to reduce stress levels (Ulrich et al. 1991). Ottosson and Grahn (2008) found that the mental health of people who experience nature regularly is actually less affected by a personal crisis than those who have fewer nature-based experiences. Other than these, a review of the literature conducted by Bowen and Parry (2015) demonstrated that there is actually little research specifically focusing on the area of depression and anxiety, and what is there is rather underwhelming. (FULL STORY)

# # #

As California burns, climate goals may go up in smoke—even after the flames are out
by Julie Cart, CALmatters, August 7, 2018
As crews across California battle more than a dozen wildfires-—including the largest in state history—-the blazes are spewing enough carbon into the air to undo some of the good done by the state’s climate policies. What’s even worse: Climate-warming compounds that will be released by the charred forests long after the fires are extinguished may do more to warm up the planet than the immediate harm from smoky air. Scientists say that only about 15 percent of a forest’s store of carbon is expelled during burns. The remainder is released slowly over the coming years and decades, as trees decay. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Growing Trees Instead of Gangs
by Gemma Alexander, Earth911, August 7, 2018
The Green Teens program in San Francisco goes beyond pruning and tree care. The San Francisco program includes workshops on resume writing, interviewing, and financial literacy. This six-minute video by the Bay Area Video Coalition provides more information about the Green Teens program, sponsored by San Francisco nonprofit, Friends of The Urban Forest. The measurable benefits to teens who participate in urban forestry projects are numerous. Often the most important changes are impossible to measure. Despite the benefits, most youth forestry programs are starved for funding and desperately in need of volunteers. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Cities in California inland areas must make street tree changes to adapt to future climate
by Jeannette E. Warnert, Green Blog, August 3, 2018
Many common street trees now growing in the interior of California are unlikely to persist in the warmer climate expected in 2099, according to research published in the July 2018 issue of the journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. “Urban foresters in inland cities of California should begin reconsidering their palettes of common street trees to prepare for warmer conditions expected in 2099 due to climate change,” said the study’s co-author, Igor Lacan, UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor in the Bay Area. Common trees in Coastal California cities appear to be better suited to withstand the 2099 climate. (FULL STORY)

# # #

5 Ways to Keep Cities Cooler During Heat Waves
by Brad Plumer, New York Times, July 24, 2018
In recent years, some urban planners have been seeking out creative strategies to combat the heat island effect to provide relief and prevent more people from dying during brutal hot spells. Trees don’t just provide much-needed shade for a sweaty city. The water evaporating from their leaves can cool a neighborhood by a few degrees during the hottest periods. Tree leaves also absorb and filter local air pollution — a crucial benefit, since heat waves can worsen urban smog, sending people to the hospital with asthma and other illnesses. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Who Was the Real Lorax? Seeking the Inspiration for Dr. Seuss
by JoAnna Klein, New York Times, July 23, 2018
In 1970, millions of people observed Earth Day for the first time, and the Environmental Protection Agency was born. And in La Jolla, Calif., Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, was fighting to keep a suburban development project from clearing the Eucalyptus trees around his home. At his wife’s suggestion to clear his mind, they traveled to the Mount Kenya Safari Club, an exclusive resort where guests watched animals along Kenya’s Laikipia plateau. And if you haven’t guessed by now, it was there that “The Lorax” took shape — on the blank side of a laundry list, nearly all of its environmental message created in a single afternoon. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Trees on Valencia Street slated to be axed — is it tech buses’ fault, or their own?
by Julian Mark, Mission Local, July 23, 2018
Just as quickly as the city posted notifications that a trio of ficus trees at the bus stop on Valencia near 25th Street were to come down, residents sprung up and rallied to save them. Dark forces must be at play. Although this will be resolved at a hearing at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, the city says the trees should be razed because they’re dangerous. Ficus trees in San Francisco are, indeed, increasingly viewed as a hazard, said Dan Flanagan, executive director of Friends of the Urban Forest. (FULL STORY)

# # #

California Is Preparing for Extreme Weather. It’s Time to Plant Some Trees.
by Henry Fountain, New York Times, July 15, 2018
For years, there has been a movement in California to restore floodplains, by moving levees back from rivers and planting trees, shrubs and grasses in the low-lying land between. The goal has been to go back in time, to bring back some of the habitat for birds, animals and fish that existed before the state was developed. But in addition to recreating the past, floodplain restoration is increasingly seen as a way of coping with the future — one of human-induced climate change. The reclaimed lands will flood more readily, and that will help protect cities and towns from the more frequent and larger inundations that scientists say are likely as California continues to warm. (FULL STORY)

# # #

The Giants of California: How Redwoods and Whales Got So Big
by Allie Weill, KQED, July 3, 2018
Summer in California is a great time to hang out with giants: the giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park, or the giant redwood trees in forests from Big Sur to the Oregon border. And though the famous grey whale migration season is long over, summer whale watchers can spot the world’s largest living animal: the blue whale. One of the best ways to learn about California’s giants and why the state became home to these giants is by visiting a new exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences called Giants of Land and Sea. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Early Reactions as Masonic Makeover Nears Completion
by Roger Rudick, Streetsblog SF, July 2, 2018
Construction on the $26 million Masonic Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project is almost finished–-the final bits of work should wrap up at the end of the month. Aesthetically, at least, the street looks nicer, especially with the new median, which hosts two species of trees, according to Chris Buck, Urban Forester with San Francisco Public Works. The “Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo is the common name) and Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree is the common name),” should do well in the narrow median, he said. “Public Works and Friends of the Urban Forest have both planted the two species above in pretty confined locations and they do just fine… you have to be a tough species… to survive the streets of San Francisco and these two species are up to the challenge.” (FULL STORY)

# # #

Crimes Against Nature: Poaching Takes its Toll on the North Coast
by Kimberly Wear, North Coast Journal, June 28, 2018
They come at night, under the cover of darkness, traversing the back roads of Redwood National and State Parks, home to much of what remains of the world’s last old growth redwood stands. Carrying chainsaws and wearing headlamps, the thieves often take side trails to scour the towering trunks for knobbed growths that encase intricately patterned wood that can fetch hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the unregulated burl market. In one of the worst documented cases, a 300-year-old tree was cut down just so a poacher could get at a massive burl located 50 feet up its side. (FULL STORY)

# # #

From Africa’s Baobabs To America’s Pines: Our Ancient Trees Are Dying.
by John Vidal, Huffington Post, June 19, 2018
Old postcards show North American redwoods large enough for cars to drive through, thousand-year-old kauri trees in New Zealand with trunks the size of tanks, and European oaks older than the Roman empire with branches covering half a football field. Some of these monumental trees are still alive, but scientists say that the world’s oldest and largest trees are dying out fast as climate change attracts new pests and diseases to forests, and settlements and new roads fragment ecosystems. The latest of the botanical giants to succumb are some of the world’s oldest baobab trees that dominate the southern African savannah and can live to well over 2,500 years. (FULL STORY)

# # #

A Renewed View of Some of the World’s Oldest Trees
by Thomas Fuller and Max Whittaker, New York Times, June 18, 2018
John Muir, the naturalist who was most at home sleeping outdoors on a bed of pine needles in the Sierra Nevada, called giant sequoias the “noblest of God’s trees.” For three years, some of the most striking examples of these towering marvels were off limits to visitors in Yosemite National Park. After a $40 million renovation — the largest restoration project in the park’s history — the Mariposa Grove, a collection of around 500 mature giant sequoias, reopened last week. What Muir called a “forest masterpiece” is now back on display. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Environmental causes boosted by statewide election
by Paul Rogers, Bay Area News Group, June 12, 2018
Across California environmental groups had one of their best elections ever. The biggest victory statewide for conservation groups was the passage of Proposition 68, a $4.1 billion parks and water bond that voters easily approved 56-44 percent. The measure will mean millions for urban parks, soccer fields, baseball fields, basketball courts, bike paths and public swimming pools — with a special emphasis on low-income urban areas. Also slated for funding are trails, beaches, forests, visitor centers and campgrounds at state and regional parks, and new funding for groundwater cleanup, flood control and drinking water treatment plants. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Last March of the ‘Wooden Elephants’: Africa’s Ancient Baobabs Are Dying
by Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, June 12, 2018
Across Africa, the oldest and largest baobabs have begun to fall and die, according to new research in the journal Nature Plants. Scientists believe that prolonged droughts and increasing temperatures may have parched the trees, leaving them unable to support the weight of their massive trunks. “The largest and oldest trees are more sensitive to changing climatic conditions because of their large dimensions,” said Adrian Patrut, a chemist at Babes-Bolyai University in Romania and lead author of the new study. Eight of the 13 oldest and five of the six largest have died or partly collapsed in the past 13 years. (FULL STORY)

# # #

The Green Factory
by Christopher Horn, American Forests, Summer 2018
Urban forestry is particularly innovative, and while many people are figuring out how best to set the field up for success in the future, some groups have tapped into a resource that is inherently forward-thinking: our youth. In San Francisco, Alex Javier is the education manager at Friends of the Urban Forest and manages the Green Teens program, which has provided roughly 800 teenagers employment opportunities since it began in 1996. The program not only helps participants hone their basic job skills, it provides a dynamic experience that prepares them for the green jobs market. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Greening Honor goes to Portola Tree Superstar
by Elisa Laird-Metke, Portola Planet, May 30, 2018
He’s way too modest to toot his own horn, but those of us who get the Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) newsletter saw that Portola resident (and Portola Neighborhood Association President and Portola Planet writer) Alex Hobbs was just given the prestigious annual FUF honor, “Most Greenified Block” for his work organizing the massive planting of 160 street trees last year, particularly along Silliman and Woolsey streets. Wow! Congratulations, Alex! And a huge THANK YOU from all of the Portola for making us the neighborhood with the biggest green strides in the City this year! (FULL STORY)

# # #

U.S. Cities Lose Tree Cover Just When They Need It Most
by Richard Conniff, Scientific American, May 7, 2018
A study in the May issue of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening reports metropolitan areas are experiencing a net loss of about 36 million trees nationwide every year. That amounts to about 175,000 acres of tree cover, most of it in central city and suburban areas but also on the exurban fringes. This reduction, says lead author David Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), translates into an annual loss of about $96 million in benefits —- based, he says, on “only a few of the benefits that we know about.” (FULL STORY)

# # #

Magnolia tree planted near City Hall to honor late Mayor Ed Lee
by Sophie Haigney, SF Gate, May 5, 2018
On Saturday morning, a magnolia tree was lowered into the ground to honor the late Mayor Ed Lee on what would have been his 66th birthday, planted by city officials, family and members of the general public. Later in the day, Lee’s official photo was unveiled at City Hall. It’s a tradition for the city’s Department of Public Works to plant an honorary tree each year — they’ve been planted for Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Rose Pak and others. This year, said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, the choice was simple: Ed Lee, whom he described as a “big brother” and mentor. (FULL STORY)

# # #

The redemptive power of gardening: Insight from a pioneer’s work with ex-offenders
by Katie Pearce, Johns Hopkins University, May 4, 2018
As founder of The Garden Project in San Francisco, Cathrine Sneed is often asked if the former inmates she employs end up pursuing careers in horticulture. But to Sneed, who visited Johns Hopkins on Thursday, the question is beside the point. “I’m not teaching gardening,” she said. “I’m teaching work.” The nonprofit ultimately expanded to include at-risk youth, with its Earth Stewards program providing education and jobs. A “tree corps” program has also planted over 10,000 street trees around the city. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Faulconer to trim forestry budget as climate-plan pledge to plant more trees fails to bloom
by Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union Tribune, May 2, 2018
Planting tens of thousands of new trees throughout San Diego is supposed to significantly help shrink the city’s carbon footprint under its 2015 Climate Action Plan. Officials are relying on boosting the urban tree canopy to eliminate more greenhouse gases in coming years than from rolling out electric city vehicles, capturing methane from wastewater treatment and increasing the number of people who bike to work, all combined. However, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is now proposing to cut funding from the Urban Forestry Program in this year’s budget, while the effort to boost tree cover throughout the city appears to be dauntingly behind schedule. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Toward a playbook for public-private partnerships
by Sue Lebeck, GreenBiz, May 1, 2018
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a powerful organizing vehicle for taking on challenges and realizing opportunities — with the potential to transform cities, industries and societies toward smarter and more sustainable models. At the GreenBiz 18 forum in Phoenix, a circle of passionate players gathered to help me launch this exploration into the state of the art of PPPs. I myself have been involved in PPPs ranging from functional sidewalk gardens organized by Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF); to the Cool Block citizen empowerment platform I helped create; to the global City Protocol Task Force I previously chaired. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Editorial: Arbor Day vision, born in Nebraska, inspires here and abroad
by Editorial staff, Omaha World-Herald, April 28, 2018
The Arbor Day Foundation’s 2018 awards illustrate how communities and institutions across the United State and worldwide pursue commendable tree-planting vision. Here are some examples: The San Francisco city government and its nonprofit partner, Friends of the Urban Forest, focusing on community-wide strategies to promote street tree health. As already noted, San Francisco stood out more than a century ago for its enthusiastic early embrace of the Arbor Day vision. (FULL STORY)

# # #

We calculated how much money trees save for your city
by Theodore Endreny, The Conversation, April 27, 2018
More than half the global population now lives in urban areas, comprising about 3 percent of the Earth. The ecological footprint of this growth is vast and there’s far more that can be done to improve life for urban residents around the world. When it comes to natural spaces, trees are keystone species in the urban ecosystem, providing a number of services that benefit people. My research team has calculated just how much a tree matters for many urban areas, particularly megacities. For every dollar invested in planting, cities see an average US$2.25 return on their investment each year. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Stolen succulents: California hipster plants at center of smuggling crisis
by Erin McCormick, The Guardian, April 27, 2018
In China, they are prized for their chubby limbs and cute shapes. In Korea, they are a treasured hobby for housewives. But on the coastal cliffs of California, the dudleya succulent plants are vanishing, snatched up by international smugglers and shipped to an Asian middle-class market hungry for California native flora. California department of fish and wildlife wardens have made five busts this year, involving more than 3,500 stolen plants, evidence that the succulent, a symbol of American hipster style, has gone global to grievous effect. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Buckle up, California. Some serious ‘precipitation whiplash’ predicted for the state
by Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee, April 23, 2018
It was the greatest flood in recorded California history, 43 days of rain and snow that swamped the state, killed thousands of people and forced the newly elected governor to take a boat to his inauguration at the Capitol. Now a group of climatologists says global warming will increase California’s risk to repeat performances of the devastating flood of 1862. In a study published Monday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, the scientists say climate change will increasingly expose California to a phenomenon they call “precipitation whiplash,” in which drought or drought-like conditions will alternate with intensely rainy winters. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Urban Forests Shrink At Alarming Pace
by Daniel L. Dreisbach, WISC24.com, April 23, 2018
The country’s urban communities have lost around 36 million trees in the period between 2009 and 2014, according to a study by Department of Agriculture Forest Service released last week. In a paper titled Declining Urban and Community Tree Cover in the United States, environmental scientists interpreted aerial photos, including classified satellite imagery, of urban areas across the States to find out that tree cover was shrinking at the rate of one percent, or about 175,000 acres per year. Simultaneously, impervious cover such as roads and buildings grew 0.6 percent a year in the same type of areas. (FULL STORY)

# # #

2,000 new trees for San Francisco — and less carbon in the air, too
by Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 2018
San Francisco officials are beginning to chart an ambitious course to sharply curtail the city’s carbon emissions over the next three decades. The first step: planting more trees — a lot of them. On Thursday, Mayor Mark Farrell will announce that the city is taking steps to become carbon-neutral — with no net release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — by 2050. As the Department of the Environment works out a long-term plan for shrinking the city’s carbon footprint, Farrell is jump-starting the process by commissioning a project to plant 2,000 trees, which absorb carbon dioxide, across San Francisco over the next two years. (FULL STORY)

# # #

An Inside Look at the Workday Green Team Leadership Program
by Mary Hayes Weier, Workday, April 18, 2018
All of us have purpose and passion for something. At Workday, 46 people have channeled their purpose and passion around improving the environment, by stepping in to lead their local Workday Green Team at offices across the globe. In the Bay Area, we are doing a park clean-up, planting trees with local nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest, and are hosting a speaker from the California Academy of Sciences to present PlanetVision. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Soil Assessment in the Field and in the Lab
by Ellyn Shea, Deeproot blog, April 9, 2018
If you work with trees, you know how important soil is. Understanding a site’s soil is key to plant selection, amendment recommendations, and maintenance planning. But soil science is complex, and analysis takes time and money. Here are a few considerations to help make soil assessment more efficient on a budget. Even on a small site, don’t assume that soil is the same throughout. Topsoil may have been removed in some areas, fill soil added in others. Usage can change the soil properties as well; a footpath, a lawn and a natural area are likely to have different chemical makeups and levels of compaction. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Tony San Francisco enclave drenched its greenery on city’s dime for over a century
by Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, April 3, 2018
Homeowners who live in San Francisco’s gated Presidio Terrace have been using up to 1 million gallons of city water a year to maintain the picture-perfect trees, walkways and flower beds along their private street — and the city has been paying the bill. According to city Public Utilities Commission records, since 2007 the street has used 12.3 million gallons of water — roughly equal to a dozen football fields 10 feet deep in water. The annual cost to taxpayers has varied from $2,716 in 2009 to $11,208 in 2017. The 10-year-plus total was $59,548. (FULL STORY)

# # #

How California’s Giant Sequoias Tell the Story of Americans’ Conflicted Relationship With Nature
by Zach St. George, Smithsonian magazine, April 2018
In the winter of 1852, while chasing a wounded grizzly bear in the mountains of eastern California, a hunter named Augustus T. Dowd encountered a very large tree. It had red-orange bark and clouds of sea-green needles, and it would’ve taken more than a dozen men with outstretched arms to encircle it. When Dowd told his campmates what he’d found, they laughed. Then he took them to see the tree. Newspapers trumpeted the discovery, calling the find—long known to Native Americans—“the Sylvan Mastodon” and “the Vegetable Monster.” “Big Tree mania” set in, William Tweed writes in a 2016 history of the giant sequoia. (FULL STORY)

# # #

What makes a tree a tree?
by Rachel Ehrenberg, Knowable Magazine, March 30, 2018
If one is pressed to describe what makes a tree a tree, long life is right up there with wood and height. While many plants have a predictably limited life span (what scientists call “programmed senescence”), trees don’t, and many persist for centuries. In fact, that trait — indefinite growth — could be science’s tidiest demarcation of treeness, even more than woodiness. Yet it’s only helpful to a point. We think we know what trees are, but they slip through the fingers when we try to define them. (FULL STORY)

# # #

San Francisco Nature, Mapped
by Zach St. George, Bay Nature, March 30, 2018
A newly released map of San Francisco shows a standard street map overlaid with a dusting of street trees and shaded spots that represent its former shoreline, with scattered illustrations of animals and plants. As many have pointed out — especially in arguing for the removal of certain Australian blue gum eucalyptus forest/plantations — prior to European settlement, the San Francisco Peninsula had hardly any trees. But Doug Wildman, deputy executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest, which helped conduct the street tree survey, says this concern isn’t really relevant. Street trees reduce cooling costs in adjacent buildings, soak up storm water runoff, and absorb pollution. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Transamerica Pyramid Withdraws Appeal To Remove Trees
by Nathan Falstreau, March 20, 2018, Hoodline
Owners of the Transamerica Pyramid have withdrawn an application to remove 40 healthy street trees that surround the skyscraper, according to Department of Public Works (DPW). As we reported last week, representatives requested a meeting with Public Works to discuss “updating and replacing the first-floor storefront and lobby,” along with replacing all exterior tile and flooring. The proposal also included the removal of red flowering Corymbia and Spotted gum trees that line 600 Montgomery St. (FULL STORY)

# # #

BIKE, TREES AND RECEIVE A BIKE?
by Miles Stepto, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition News, March 15, 2018
Our Community Bike Builds program is partnering with Friends of the Urban Forest, a San Francisco non-profit dedicated to growing and maintaining the urban forest, to help make a difference in our community and our environment. Through our Community Bicycle Builds, we work with low-income youth and job-training programs. Friends of the Urban Forest’s Green Teens is just such an effort, as an urban forestry vocational skills training programs working with low-income San Francisco youths aged 14-19. On April 28, we look forward to seeing Green Teens at Bike Tree Love, our next event with Friends of the Urban Forest. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Public Works Rejects Request To Remove Trees At Transamerica Pyramid
by Nathan Falstreau, Hoodline, March 14, 2018
Earlier this week, a reader tipped Hoodline that the owners of Transamerica Pyramid Center asked the city for permission “to remove every single tree within the sidewalk” surrounding the renowned skyscraper. Via email, Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon confirmed receiving an application to remove 40 trees adjacent to three frontages around the building, but said “we are denying the request.” Because the complex’s owners have filed an appeal, an administrative hearing will be held March 26th in Room 416 at 5:30pm at City Hall. (FULL STORY)

# # #

The City Plants a Tree, but I Don’t Want It
by Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, March 3, 2018
Q. Without asking or telling me, the city planted new trees on my block, including one in front of my three-family house in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. I want the tree removed and the sidewalk restored at the city’s expense because I am concerned about cracked concrete, leaves falling in the autumn, rats, and dog and bird droppings. A. The area between the curb and your property line belongs to the city, not you. So, if the city wants to a plant tree there, it may do so. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Tree trimmer fatally electrocuted in San Jose
Bay City News Service, February 26, 2018
The San Jose Fire Department is working with PG&E to clear all safety threats before removing a man who was electrocuted by power lines while trimming a tree this afternoon, a fire captain said. When fire crews arrived on scene, they realized that the man had been continuously electrocuted for an extended period of time when he cut a branch that hit a high-tension power line, according to Vega. Both the tree and his body were emitting smoke. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Study finds ‘rock moisture’ spared California forest from drought
by Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, February 26, 2018
The recent drought left record numbers of trees dead and dying and vulnerable to fire in virtually every corner of California, but a dense tract of evergreen forest in northern Mendocino County remained wet and healthy. The reason, say the authors of a study published Monday, is that the trees are hydrating from the rock deep beneath them. This reserve of water in the pores of underground rock is so vast, the authors say, that it not only provides a twist on how trees are nourished but could change the narrative of how water flows to streams and disperses into the atmosphere. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Parklets Recap from New Partners for Smart Growth 2018 Conference
by Katie Riddle, The Field, ASLA Professional Practice Networks’ blog, February 15, 2018
In February, the New Partners for Smart Growth (NPSG) conference, the nation’s largest smart growth and sustainability event, was held in San Francisco, CA. As a promotional sponsor, ASLA led the sixth annual Parklets Initiative along with the Local Government Commission (LGC). The interactive installations were created by design and planning firms as well as local non-profit organizations. The Experiential Forest Parklet was designed for all ages of curious urban residents who would like to learn more about the nature that does exist around cities. (FULL STORY)

# # #

China reassigns 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in bid to fight pollution
by Samuel Osborne, The Independent, February 14, 2018
China has reportedly reassigned over 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in a bid to combat pollution by increasing the country’s forest coverage. It comes as part of China’s plan to plant at least 84,000 square kilometres (32,400 square miles) of trees by the end of the year, which is roughly equivalent to the size of Ireland. The aim is to increase the country’s forest coverage from 21 per cent of its total landmass to 23 per cent by 2020, the China Daily newspaper reported. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Is the heat tricking Bay Area flowers and trees into blooming earlier this year?
by Amy Graff, SF Gate, February 6, 2018
In California, where nature has thrown us for a loop in recent years with extreme weather, it’s hard to define what’s “normal,” but Corey Barnes, the associate curator at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, says he has noticed some flowers and trees blooming a little earlier this year -— and it’s not normal. “We’re seeing a more intense burst right now,” Barnes says. “We have a bit of a higher peak in a tighter, shorter period of time.” (FULL STORY)

# # #

Friends of the Urban Forest: How Greening San Francisco Can Plant a Long-Lasting Bond Among Local Tree Lovers
by Amber Brooks, DatingAdvice.com, February 1, 2018
Along the busy streets of San Francisco, Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) is building an impressive legacy of its own by planting thousands of trees each year. San Francisco residents can go to a Friends of the Urban Forest event to make a positive difference in the community and meet people who care about protecting the environment. And who knows? You might plant the seeds of a relationship that’ll last a lifetime. You never know what could grow from one afternoon of goodwill and friendship. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Stormwater infiltration capacity of street tree pits: Quantifying the influence of different design and management strategies in New York City
by Robert M. Elliott, Elizabeth R. Adkins, Patricia J. Culligan, and Matthew I. Palmer, Ecological Engineering, February, 2018
For trees housed within tree pits, the ability to mitigate stormwater runoff can be modulated by the permeability of the soil within the tree pit itself. Thus, developing a better understanding of how tree pit design and management impact soil permeability can be important to quantifying, and potentially improving, the stormwater benefits of street trees. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Study Evaluates Performance of Climate-Ready Trees
by Conni Kunzler, ACTrees News, January 29, 2018
California’s recent drought illustrated that many urban tree species are sensitive to stressors associated with changing climates. In anticipation of warmer, drier climates predicted for California, researchers are introducing new or under-represented tree species into urban forests that are expected to better weather these conditions. This study intends to gradually shift the tree palette within test cities to ones that are more tolerant of heat, drought, salinity and pests. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Green Space, Human Health, and Social Justice
by Jennifer Moore Myers and Kiley Coates, CompassLive (blog of U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station), January 25, 2018
Urban green spaces like parks, urban forests, and greenways are often not equally available to everyone. “My research focuses on the nexus between urban nature, social justice, and health as it relates to factors such as income, race, and socioeconomic status,” says U.S. Forest service biological scientist Viniece Jennings. Jennings and her colleagues are working to understand who benefits from green space — and perhaps more importantly, who doesn’t. (FULL STORY)

# # #

25 small ways to make SF a better place
by Brock Keeling and Sally Kuchar, Curbed SF, January 25, 2018
As more wealth pours into the city and the economic divide grows wider than ever before, it’s important to help out your fellow San Franciscan, zip code and tax bracket be damned. For San Franciscans looking to make their hometown a better place, we present these small, but substantial, ways that you can help make a difference. Hook up with the Friends of the Urban Forest. See how you can help add foliage to San Francisco’s streets with this choice nonprofit. They organize everything from neighborhood tree plantings to sidewalk landscaping. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Bay Area Weekend Events: Plant a Tree, 2018 Golden Gate Kennel Show
by Jessica Castro, KGO ABC7 News and Hoodline, January 25, 2018
Friends of the Urban Forest kicks off their 2018 planting season this upcoming weekend. The group need volunteers to help plant sidewalk gardens in the Bernal Heights neighborhood Friday and Saturday. Executive Director Dan Flanagan tells ABC7 News the organization is doubling its efforts in 2018. “In the past we’ve needed about 40 volunteers for each planting, but now for planting we need about 80 volunteers every two weeks, which is a lot more people” says Flanagan about their goal to plant more than 2,000 trees across San Francisco in 2018. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Prepare for the Next Drought: Plant Trees
by Ellyn Shea, DeepRoot blog, January 22, 2018
There are many ways to conserve water, but one of the most aesthetically pleasing ways is to maintain mature trees. Early in the drought years, Californians were encouraged to turn off their landscape irrigation to conserve water. Californians got so good at water conservation, they were killing the assets that kept them cool and helped conserve water – trees. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Being around natural greenery may cheer up even adolescents
by Mary Gillis, Reuters Health, January 18, 2018
Exposure to trees and other greenery has been shown to stave off depression in adults, and a new U.S. study finds the same may be true for teenagers. Researchers looked at more than 9,000 kids aged 12 to 18 and found those who lived in areas with lots of natural vegetation nearby were less likely to display high levels of depression symptoms. The effect was strongest among middle schoolers, the study team reports in Journal of Adolescent Health. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Urban forests make megacities more environmentally sustainable
by Lucy Goodchild van Hilten, Elsevier Connect, January 17, 2018
A tree on the sidewalk shelters a young woman as she walks under the canopy. It’s a familiar picture – about 20 percent of the area of each of the world’s megacities is urban forest. But according to a new Atlas award-winning study in Ecological Modelling, a further 20 percent could be transformed into forest – something that would change residents’ lives for the better. (FULL STORY)

# # #

New Ways To Capture The Power Of Urban Trees To Reduce Pollution
by The Center for Watershed Protection, Inc., Water Online, January 17, 2018
The Center for Watershed Protection announced recently it has developed a groundbreaking new method to account for the capacity of trees planted in urban areas to reduce runoff pollution. The Center has used that model to develop two tree planting credits — a pollutant load reduction credit and a stormwater performance-based credit. The model estimates the mean annual runoff for a single tree at maturity planted over grass or impervious cover, compared to runoff from those same sites without trees. These credits can be adopted by regulatory agencies wishing to offer science-based credits that encourage greater use of tree planting. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Working with Non-Profit Carbon Registry to Preserve and Plant City Forests
by Mark McPherson, ACTrees News, January 15, 2018
The Urban Forest Carbon Registry, a non-profit organization based in Seattle, has developed a first-ever Tree Preservation Protocol that enables forest preservation projects to earn carbon credits and bring in new funding sources. The Registry is working with Alliance members and other longtime urban forest professionals in a number of cities to help them develop both preservation and planting programs. Some of the organizations at work are TreeFolks and the City of Austin, Canopy and the City of Palo Alto, American Forests, King County, WA, the Mountains to Sound Greenway in the Seattle area, Friends of the Urban Forest and the City of San Francisco, and Texas Trees Foundation in Dallas. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Neighbors bristle at plan to remove trees on SF Mission’s 24th Street
by Charlotte Silver, Mission Local, January 12, 2018
But on Jan. 5, the city posted a notice announcing it would remove the ficus and at least five others along Mission’s 24th St. Friends of the Urban Forest, a non-profit that helps plant street trees, said it’s “always disappointed to see large, mature trees removed. Larger trees provide greater ecosystem services,” said Dan Flanagan, the executive director. “However, we recognize that big trees can be dangerous, especially in urban environments, if they die or aren’t properly maintained or become structurally unsound.” (FULL STORY)

# # #

160 Free Sidewalk Trees Planted in the Portola During 2017, More to Come!
by Alex Hobbs, The Portola Planet, January 11, 2018
The streets of the Garden District are getting greener with some help from Friends of the Urban Forest and the city. With the passage of Prop E, the city has directed funding and asked F.U.F. to focus their efforts on the treeless streets of San Francisco’s outer neighborhoods. Portola appears to be embracing a greener neighborhood now that maintenance, liability and potential sidewalk cracking issues are all the city’s responsibility. The demand last year was so great that 160 were planted in three separate planting events, a definite record for the Portola. (FULL STORY)

# # #

None of These Trees Belong in San Francisco and Neither Do You and That’s OK
by Thea Boodhoo, Medium, January 10, 2018
The sandy soil and uniquely cold, damp summers differentiated the peninsula so much from the rest of Northern California –- the only place I’ve lived with a season called “fire” –- that none of the Bay Area’s native trees can grow here. The olive and ficus, cherry blossom and strawberry tree (yes that’s its real name), eucalyptus and ginko –- they’re all from someplace else. Like me. Like you. If you want to learn more about San Francisco’s unique and diverse treescape, I recommend following Friends of the Urban Forest, a local nonprofit dedicated to our “green infrastructure.” (FULL STORY)

# # #

Quantifying Urban Trees’ Ability To Intercept Rainfall
by Conni Kunzler, ACTrees News, January 8, 2018
In urban settings, a tree’s ability to intercept or slow rainfall reaching the ground can reduce the amount overflowing onto paved surfaces and lost as stormwater runoff. U.S. Forest Service researchers and the University of California, Davis, measured the crown storage capacity of 20 common California urban tree species, and then calculated each species’ potential interception amount over 40 years. Blue spruce (Picea pungens) held the most rainwater (1.81 mm) with its many narrow spaces formed by rigid needles, buds and stems. Arborists can use this research to select trees to maximize rainfall interception at selected periods after planting. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Measuring Urban Tree Loss Across Residential Landscapes
by Conni Kunzler, ACTrees News, January 8, 2018
New U.S. EPA research has developed a simple method, tested in Denver, CO, and Milwaukee, WI, for measuring urban tree loss dynamics within and across entire cities, helping to better understand the location, as well as environmental and social factors, affecting tree loss dynamics. The study provides a simple method for measuring urban tree loss dynamics within and across entire cities, and represents a further step toward high resolution assessments of the three-dimensional change of urban vegetation at large spatial scales. (FULL STORY)

# # #

The Tree That Still Grows in Brooklyn, And Almost Everywhere Else
by Catherine McNeur, Gotham, January 4, 2018
The Tree of Heaven, or Ailanthus, gained fame in 1943 as a symbol of endurance in Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. In this book about a plucky, determined girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, the tree seemed to embody her spirit. It thrived in cities while other plants withered. Today, if you ask an urban forester about Ailanthus trees, you’ll find that it’s exactly that kind of resilience that they find most frustrating. Today the Tree of Heaven is considered an invasive species and a problem to be solved. This was not always the case. (FULL STORY)

# # #

How to recycle your holiday tree
Inhabitat, December 26, 2017
Our favorite option for Christmas trees is buying potted ones to replant, or “renting” trees for the holidays. San Francisco has received a lot of attention for their Rent-a-Tree program, which provides a variety of tree species to families for the holiday season. They can be strung with popcorn and tinsel just like their disposable cousins, but come early January, the city will pick them up and plant them in a neighborhood that needs some greening. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Disrupt the Street Tree
by Eric Simons, Medium, December 19, 2017
Why does Silicon Valley looks so particularly bland? The London plane is the sand-colored stucco box of trees. If you are standing in an otherwise featureless intersection and looking at a row of London plane trees you might be in any city on Earth. Ecologists have coined a term for this phenomenon: ecological homogenization. The London plane tree has spread around the world for a reason: it is the perfect tree for people who don’t want to care that much about trees. (FULL STORY)

# # #

It Takes A Village To Raise An Urban Forest
by Shane Downing, Hoodline, December 15, 2017
Castro neighbors living on Ford, Sanchez and Noe Streets are sprucing up their sidewalks, thanks in part to motivated residents and support from Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF), a Presidio-based nonprofit that promotes, plants and cares for trees across the city. Twenty-two properties on Ford, Sanchez and Noe Streets between 17th and 18th, are greening more than 2,500 square feet of sidewalk space, making it FUF’s largest sidewalk beautification project to date in San Francisco. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Streetlights could be replaced by glow-in-the-dark trees after scientists create plants that shine like fireflies
by Tim Collins, Daily Mail, December 14, 2017
Roads of the future could be lit by glowing trees instead of streetlamps, thanks to a breakthrough in creating bioluminescent plants. Experts injected specialised nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant, which caused it to give off a dim light for nearly four hours. The chemical involved, which produced enough light to read a book by, is the same as is used by fireflies to create their characteristic shine. To create their glowing plants, engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) turned to an enzyme called luciferase. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Despite Tree Benefits, CA Urban Canopy Cover Per Capita Lowest In U.S.
by Conni Kunzler, ACTrees News, December 11, 2017
Despite the benefits of city trees, California has the lowest urban canopy cover per capita in the United States, with room to accommodate an estimated 236 million more plantings. “The structure, function and value of urban forests in California communities,” recently published online in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, reports that California’s 109 square yards of city tree canopy per person lags behind other urban canopy-poor states, such as Nevada (110), Wyoming (146) and Montana (148). And there’s no comparison with well-treed states, such as New Hampshire (1,514), Connecticut (1,214) or Alabama (1,182). (FULL STORY)

# # #

How to Build a City That Doesn’t Flood? Turn it Into a Sponge
by Poornima Apte, JSTOR Daily, December 5, 2017
Urban floods make the news with alarming regularity. As cities develop, miles of impervious pavement are laid over forest or wetlands, displacing the natural flood management systems like creeks, underground streams, or bogs. But now there’s a movement around the world to build smarter and “spongier” cities that can absorb rainwater instead of letting it flow through miles of pavement and cause damaging floods. From Iowa to Vermont and from San Francisco to Chicago, urban infrastructure is getting a reboot. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Thanks to autonomous vehicles, we could have these utopian, tree-filled streets
by Patrick Sisson, Curbed, November 30, 2017
The oncoming rush of autonomous vehicle technology has led to rampant speculation over the future of cities, roads, and society. A recent conceptual design exercise from HOK, a global architecture and design firm, offers a more optimistic, environmentally friendly, and naturalistic take on how this technology may reshape our cities, one block at a time. The result was a reverse engineered urban roadway, with lush tree canopies, extensive landscaping, wide pedestrian walkways, outdoor places and seating, and just a tiny set of tracks dedicated to fully autonomous vehicles. (FULL STORY)

# # #

GEORGE WILLIAMS
San Francisco Chronicle, November 19, 2017
George A. Williams, 89, passed away on November 6, 2017, at his home surrounded by his beloved wife of 59 years and family. He spent 20 years as the Assistant Director of the San Francisco Planning Department, and was the principal author of San Francisco’s renowned Downtown Plan that directed growth in the City center. A proponent of street beautification, he co-founded the San Francisco Friends of the Urban Forest. The family would be pleased if you wished to make a contribution in memory of George to Friends of the Urban Forest Tree Tribute. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Urban forest diversity matters more than ever
by Anne-Marie Walker, Marin Independent Journal, November 17, 2017
Monocultures of trees have left us vulnerable to pests spreading rapidly and often with devastating results — Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer and the Asian long-horned beetle among others. Urban tree diversity has never been more important! Genetic engineering of new varieties of trees may help fend off disease; for example, the University of California at Davis helped develop a new Monterey pine that is resistant to pitch canker; you can see trial plantings around the World War II war memorial in the Presidio. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Urban Trees Grow Differently Than Rural Trees
by Maddie Stone, Earther, November 14, 2017
A major analysis of urban and rural trees in ten metropolitan areas around the world—the first study of its kind—has come to a surprising conclusion. Despite the noise pollution, the actual pollution, and all of the other challenges associated with city life, on average urban trees seem to be growing faster than their rural counterparts. Within city limits, where urban trees are growing faster than rural ones, the authors suggest the urban heat island effect may be to blame. Overall, the growth rate difference between urban and rural trees declined as trees aged, which may indicate increased water stress in cities as trees get bigger. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Awards Highlight Partnerships Between UCSF, Community That Promote Health Equity
by Kate Vidinsky, UCSF News, November 13, 2017
UC San Francisco’s Center for Community Engagement and Council honored the many valued partnerships between UCSF and the community at its recent Annual Partnerships Celebration. The Arborist-Apprentice Internship Program was named winner of the Economic Inclusion Award. The program is a partnership between the green-focused nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest and the San Francisco Wraparound Project, a violence intervention program at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Reasons why green infrastructure matters
by Shawn Fitzgerald and A.D. Ali, Lawn & Landscape, November 8, 2017
Urban areas contain substantial expanses of hardscape in the form of buildings, paved roads, parking lots and concrete sidewalks. The impervious nature of these surfaces leads to runoff during periods of heavy precipitation. Stormwater management occurs more efficiently in natural settings such as forests, open fields and wetlands. To simulate this in urban settings, green infrastructure is increasingly becoming a popular alternative to traditional ‘gray’ infrastructure. There are several types of green infrastructure that may be utilized in urban settings. Those include urban forests, green roofs, rain gardens and bioswales. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Living With Wildfires
by Tom Molanphy, Earth Island Journal, November 6, 2017
California is the third-largest state in the country but it’s also heavily populated. Many homes here are situated at what’s called the “wildland-urban interface” — areas where natural landscapes and manmade structure meet, making it easy for wildfires to spread into suburban and ex-urban communities. “We can assist and support surviving fauna by leaving out water bowls, and by maintaining some standing dead trees — provided they don’t pose a threat to life and property — for cavity-dwelling birds,” says Doug Wildman, deputy executive director of the conservation group Friends of the Urban Forest. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Country Joe and the Fish (er-Paulson)
by Kevin Fisher-Paulson, San Francisco Chronicle, November 6, 2017
In 1999, when Brian and I first moved into the blue bungalow, there were no more than a dozen trees in the outer, outer, outer Excelsior. So we got involved with the Friends of the Urban Forest, who organized a planting. My father was still alive at the time and said, “If you get the chance, pick an olive tree.” This Saturday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. Don’t just fly a flag. There are more than 2 million veterans in California. Take one out to dinner. Or plant an olive tree. Eighteen years later, those three Olea europaea still grow in the outer, outer, outer Excelsior. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Memorial set for Jeffrey Betcher, Bayview community gardener
by Carl Nolte, SF Gate, November 4, 2017
Jeffrey Betcher, who helped turn his neglected and crime-ridden Bayview street into a showplace, will be remembered in a Nov. 18 memorial on Quesada Avenue, where he and others did their work. Mr. Betcher was one of the key figures in a grassroots movement called “guerrilla gardening,” which involved neighbors working to take over a rundown and crime-ridden block and turn it into a community garden. There were doubters — even the city of San Francisco at first opposed the neighbors taking control of city-owned property, however neglected. The guerrilla gardening model won awards, attracted attention from local colleges including Stanford and the University of San Francisco, and carried over to other parts of the Bayview. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Need to Escape the City? Go Climb a Tree
by Matthew Kruchak, CityLab, November 3, 2017
In a special hammock about 50 feet above the ground, Tim Kovar sat back and relaxed. Kovar is something of a tree-climbing savant. A full-time tree climbing instructor in Oregon City, Oregon, he’s part of a global group of adventurers who explore this uncharted layer of our cities. It wasn’t long ago that technical tree climbing was limited to just local arborists and canopy researchers in remote jungles. But recreational climbers say that’s starting to change, with more and more people signing up with instructional courses to learn how to climb. “I think it’s deeply rooted into our DNA to be up in the treetops,” he says. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Site Assessment Tool Field Tested In Eight Cities
by Conni Kunzler, ACTrees, October 30, 2017
Urban trees experience site-induced stress and this leads to reduced growth and health. A site assessment tool can be useful to urban forest managers to better match species tolerances and site qualities, and to assess the efficacy of soil management actions. Toward this goal, a rapid urban site index (RUSI) model was created and tested for its ability to predict urban tree performance. The RUSI model is a field-based assessment tool that scores 15 parameters in approximately five minutes. Future work on the RUSI model will include developing training modules and testing across a wider geographic area with more urban tree species and urban sites. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Dogpatch, SF’s latest boomtown neighborhood, shedding scruffy past
by J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, October 29, 2017
With new restaurants or galleries opening seemingly every week, Dogpatch is the city’s fastest-growing neighborhood, with a population set to jump to about 8,000 by 2025 — up from 2,000 in 2015 — as huge developments at Pier 70 and the old Potrero Power Plant join the area’s shiny housing complexes. Last weekend, neighbors planted 67 trees. The plantings were paid for through the Green Benefit Districts program started five years ago by developer Michael Yarne of Build Inc., which recently completed O&M Dogpatch, a 116-unit development at 650 Indiana St. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Assessing The Value Of Community Urban Forestry Grants
by Conni Kunzler, ACTrees, October 23, 2017
The Southern Regional Extension Forestry (SREF) has completed an impact assessment of the USDA Forest Service National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program. In all, for every federal dollar invested in these grants, there is a $4.92 return on investment. The study found that the publicly-funded grant program supports research that improves the economic, environmental, and social challenges faced by those who live, work, and recreate in urban areas. Extension personnel can benefit from this report by accessing new research and as justification for arboriculture and urban forestry educational programming. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Living Near A Forest Will Make You Happier, Study Finds
by Trevor Nace, Forbes, October 19, 2017
New research says living near a forest, even if you’re in the city makes a positive impact. The team studied individuals living near urban green spaces, forests, and wastelands to determine its influence on the amygdala, which regulates stress in the brain. The team found significant evidence that city dwellers living near a forest were more likely to have healthy amygdalas and thus better able to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Interesting follow up research may compare living near other natural landscapes compared to forests. Are people happier living near a forest or near a beach? (FULL STORY)

# # #

Winter-blooming plants help bees overwinter in your yard
by Dean Fosdick, Associated Press, October 17, 2017
Winter and early spring are lean times for honeybees as they emerge from their hives, where food supplies are dwindling, to forage. Adding clusters of winter-blooming plants around the yard will give them much needed nourishment. Bees take in carbohydrates from floral nectar and protein from floral pollen. “In the early spring, bees are going to need food to get their engines started again,” said Andony Melathopoulos, a bee specialist with Oregon State University Extension Service. (FULL STORY)

# # #

How Should We Pay for Street Trees?
by Teresa Mathew, CityLab, October 3, 2017
Trees have proved to aid mental health, decrease obesity and other health risks, and just generally make people happier. But they are often thought of as a luxury rather than a vital component of healthcare or urban infrastructure. In a new report, The Nature Conservancy, a conservation-focused nonprofit, argues that trees are an important public health asset and should be funded as such. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Which Trees Will We Lose First? Trees Most Vulnerable to Climate Change
by Ellyn Shea, Deeproot blog, October 2, 2017
Trees can do a lot of amazing things, but they can’t move away when the climate becomes inhospitable. Some can adapt to changing climate, and some can’t. Helpfully, the US Forest Service and North Carolina State University (NCSU) have recently published the results of a study in the journal New Forests that identifies the most vulnerable tree species. Managers of large tree populations with limited budgets might use this information to prioritize spending their money on planting and caring for tree species with the highest potential for surviving climate change. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Map Monday: Urban Forest Map
by Chris Bousquet, Data-Smart City Solutions, October 2, 2017
While quality roads, appealing architecture, and effective public transportation have long been hailed as catalysts of economic growth, policymakers have paid little attention to industrial infrastructure’s arboreal counterpart: trees. The Urban Forest Map — a visualization of every tree in San Francisco — seeks to change that. With the help of local non-profit Friends of the Urban Forest and tree inventory specialists ArborPro and Davey, the city calculated and mapped the economic and environmental value of each tree in the city in order to remind policymakers and residents alike of these often-overlooked benefits. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Tree company to pay record fine for immigration practices
by Michael Rubinkam, Associated Press, September 28, 2017
Asplundh Tree Expert Co. of Willow Grove, a utility contractor best known for pruning and removing trees around power lines, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal criminal charge and was ordered to pay a total of $95 million. The U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia said Asplundh employed thousands of unauthorized workers between 2010 and 2014, its top management remaining “willfully blind” while lower-level supervisors hired people they knew were in the country illegally. The company, which holds many municipal, state and federal contracts, said it has reformed its hiring practices. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Growth Of Private Tree Regulation Spurs Fear Of Backlash
by Mindy Fetterman, HuffPost, September 25, 2017
In recent years an increasing number of cities have started regulating what happens to trees on private property — on land owned by either developers or homeowners, including trees in their yards. But a recent tangle over the regulation of trees on private land in Texas has some urban tree advocates bracing for a backlash. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, pushed state lawmakers in a recent special session to scrap cities’ tree ordinances, which he called “socialism,” in favor of a state law stipulating that any private property owner, including developers, had complete control over trees on their land. (FULL STORY)

# # #

SF musician removes York street trees — and faces nearly $6,000 in fines
by Julian Mark, Mission Local, September 19, 2017
Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Public Works, confirmed that three trees — two in healthy condition and one that was dying — were removed without permits. As a result, the owner of the property, musician Richard Segovia, will be fined a total of $5,919, or $1,973 per tree, she said. “I would have never removed the trees if I wouldn’t have got this mural on my home,” Segovia said. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Citizen Science for Urban Forest Management? Predicting the Data Density and Richness of Urban Forest Volunteered Geographic Information
by Alec Foster, Ian M. Dunham, and Charles Kaylor, Urban Science, September 19, 2017
Volunteered geographic information (VGI) has been heralded as a promising new data source for urban planning and policymaking. However, there are also concerns surrounding uneven levels of participation and spatial coverage, despite the promotion of VGI as a means to increase access to geographic knowledge production. If these incomplete and uneven datasets are used in policymaking, environmental justice issues may arise. (FULL STORY)

# # #

[social media post]
by Jennifer Potter, Instagram, September 18, 2017
Today I discovered there is an interactive map that lists all the public trees along San Francisco’s streets, which I am super excited about! When I moved here from the east coast (almost ten years ago) I was awestruck by how different the flora is here, and although I’ve learned to recognize some of the trees, I really haven’t scratched the surface. But now I can find out exactly what a tree is, and where it’s planted throughout the city. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Trees on York Street removed; no one knows why
by Julian Mark, Mission Local, September 15, 2017
“The residents of York Street are heartbroken that two street trees were illegally removed today from York St at 25th,” Ben Glenn, who lives down the street from the trees, wrote in an e-mail. Glenn said he sent an email to Calle 24, and received a response from Moisés García, corridor manager at Calle 24. “It’s my understanding that Richard Segovia requested the tree removal to improve the view of the mural,” Garcia said. The trees partially blocked a new mural, and 25th and York streets will be the site of the “Latin Rock Stage” as part of the Fiesta De Las Americas block party Sunday. The mural, painted on Segovia’s house, is a tribute to the local Latin rock scene. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Planting Trees with Friends of the Urban Forest
by Rex Woodbury & Ian Spear, Two Hands, September 14, 2017
When we signed up to plant trees with Friends of the Urban Forest, we had thought it would be as simple as digging a hole in the ground and putting a young tree in said hole. We learned there’s actually an incredible amount of care and thought that goes into planting a young sapling, including measurements for the roots and structures to protect the tree from strong winds. There are numerous benefits to having more trees in the city, including cleaner air, reduced polluted stormwater runoff, and, of course, a more beautiful city to live in. After heading home from volunteering, we noticed our street was looking a little barren. We went on FUF’s website and requested some trees in our neighborhood! (FULL STORY)

# # #

Scientists: Future of oldest tree species on Earth in peril
by Scott Smith, Associated Press, September 14, 2017
The bristlecone pine tree, famous for its wind-beaten, gnarly limbs and having the longest lifespan on Earth, is losing a race to the top of mountains throughout the Western United States, putting future generations in peril, researchers said Wednesday. Driven by climate change, a cousin of the tree, the limber pine, is leapfrogging up mountainsides, taking root in warmer, more favorable temperatures and leaving little room for the late-coming bristlecone, a study finds. “Limber pine is taking all the good spots,” said Brian Smithers, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Davis, who led the research. “It’s jarring.” The bristlecone pine can live 5,000 years, making it the oldest individually growing organism on the planet, researchers say. (FULL STORY)

# # #

The Ground-Zero Tree That Survived 9/11 Is a Reminder of American Resilience
by Melanie Aman, Woman’s World, September 11, 2017
Sixteen years after September 11, the Twin Towers may no longer be standing, but in their place is a testament to the unbreakable strength of the human spirit: the Survivor Tree. “When they were doing the clean-up at the World Trade, somebody noticed it amongst the rubble,” Richie Cabo, a horticulturist and manager of the Citywide Nursery said. The 8-foot tree was moved to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, in a state that Robert Zappala, the former manager of Citywide Nursery, describes as “mortally wounded.” Many thought the tree would not survive, but after nine years of rehab, the pear tree was thriving. In December of 2010, Vega and his team worked to bring the tree back to its home. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Unpaving Paradise
by Nuala Sawyer, SF Weekly, September 6, 2017
Paved yards cover seven percent of the Sunset District, and add up to more than 160 acres. It is possible to walk blocks in certain areas of the Outer Sunset without seeing more than 12 square feet of dirt, thanks to outdated landscaping practices and residents’ desire to convert front yards into extra parking spots. But in the past few years, the city has fought back against that practice, offering money to homeowners willing to remove a few blocks of cement for the sake of some greenery through the Front Yard Ambassadors Program. Supervisor Katy Tang’s office reviews applications from residents twice a year. If approved, the Friends of the Urban Forest implements them, planting low-maintenance, drought-tolerant species that are able to thrive in the neighborhood’s unique coastal conditions, and burying them in gopher-resistant baskets that deter the hungry rodents. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Tree at 826 Haight May Be Saved
San Francisco Forest Alliance, September 5, 2017
In a little bit of good news, we recently received this letter from a supporters, telling of a possibly successful attempt to save a street tree on Haight Street, San Francisco CA. Hi Folks, Another partial win for a critical component of our urban forest — street trees, in this case a lone blackwood acacia at 826 Haight Street facing removal. The other day DPW [Department of Public Works] head Muhammed Nuru reversed a request to remove the tree after a Public Hearing was held for neighbors protesting its imminent removal. The tree removal order was overturned, delayed for 90 days while BUF reassesses every means of saving this healthy, mature tree including construction of a larger basin and sidewalk repair that slopes to accommodate the tree roots and base. (FULL STORY)

# # #

A Y-Combinator Startup Named FLOCK is Mounting License Plate Scanners in the Street Trees of Frisco – Here’s 20th and Guerrero
San Francisco Citizen, September 4, 2017
This surveillance startup wants to put cameras in your neighborhood – The cameras already have captured evidence of two crimes. Flock is a new startup backed by Mountain View-based accelerator Y Combinator that uses the license-plate-reading cameras to help catch criminals. Just look at this poor Indian Laurel Fig (Ficus retusa) – it’s literally in “poor condition” already and then Y Combinator / Flock nails on a license plate camera to monetize the sidewalk trees of Frisco by spying on you and yours? (FULL STORY)

# # #

Southern San Francisco is getting greener
by Bethany Klein, Northern California News, August 28, 2017
Balboa High School played host to a large group of people on Saturday, August 26th. The group consisted of approximately 600 volunteers from across the city. There were also city officials there to assist with the project. The goal of all of those people was to plant 500 trees in the southern part of the city. This section of the city was chosen as it has been largely ignored in the past when it comes to city improvement projects. The project was developed through the joint efforts of Friends of the Urban Forest and the Department of Public Works, as well as the guidance of Ahsha Safaí, the District 11 Supervisor. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Cure Yourself of Tree Blindness
by Gabriel Popkin, New York Times, August 26, 2017
There was a time when knowing your trees was a matter of life and death, because you needed to know which ones were strong enough to support a house and which ones would feed you through the winter. Now most of us walk around, to adapt a term devised by some botanists, tree blind. But here’s the good news: Tree blindness can be cured. Just naming trees might sound a bit like a parlor trick to impress your friends. But it’s also a way to start paying attention. Then you notice more interesting things. Trees put on one of nature’s great sex shows. Each spring they break their winter dormancy with a burst of genitalia, also known as flowers. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Volunteers plant hundreds of trees in SF’s southern neighborhoods
by Jenna Lyons, SF Gate, August 26, 2017
San Francisco’s southern neighborhoods got a little greener Saturday as hundreds of volunteers and city officials gathered at Balboa High School for the city’s largest tree planting project to date. Sunny weather kept spirits high, despite the looming shadow brought on by a planned right-wing gathering that led officials to close Alamo Square Park in the Western Addition. “This is really kind of a crazy day for San Francisco and for our country,” Dan Flanagan, executive director of Friends of the Urban Forest, told the crowd of volunteers. “Put something in the ground that will last for generations. That’s what we care about in this city.” (FULL STORY)

# # #

Public Works To Plant 500 Trees In District 11 Tomorrow
by Will Carruthers, Hoodline, August 25, 2017
With the largest tree planting in city history, some southern neighborhoods are about to get a lot greener. San Francisco Public Works announced plans to plant 500 street trees tomorrow in the Excelsior, Outer Mission, Crocker Amazon, Ingleside and other District 11 neighborhoods. The mass planting is a coordinated effort between Public Works, Friends of the Urban Forest, District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai and 300 volunteers. In addition to greening the streets, the mass planting is designed to draw attention to Street Tree SF, the city’s latest attempt to improve its street tree maintenance program. (FULL STORY)

# # #

How Listening to Trees Can Help Reveal Nature’s Connections
by Diane Toomey, Yale Environment 360, August 24, 2017
David George Haskell is nothing if not a patient observer. In his latest book, The Songs of Trees, Haskell takes those powers of observation and uses them to lyrically describe repeated visits to 12 trees around the world, including a ceibo in the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador, a pear tree on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and an olive tree in Jerusalem. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Haskell explains that, in writing the book, he wanted to explore not only individual trees, but their connections to the biological networks around them, including humans, and the often-unheard sounds that result from these interactions, from a beetle chewing the inside of a dead ash tree to waves washing over the roots of a palm tree. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Trees Can Save A City $500 Million Every Year
by Katharine Schwab, Co.Design, August 24, 2017
A new study published in the online journal Ecological Modelling puts a number on just how much money trees save cities. After studying 10 megacities around the world and taking into account air pollution, storm water, building energy, and carbon emissions, the researchers found that trees have an economic benefit of about $505 million every year. From Beijing and Cairo to London and Los Angeles, researchers from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Parthenope University of Naples found that trees are worth $1.2 million per square kilometer, or $35 per capita. But in the future, those numbers could be much greater. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Researchers’ agenda: Measure a healthy ‘dose’ of nature
by Ashlie Chandler, HSNewsBeat (from University of Washington Health Sciences and UW Medicine), August 24, 2017
We know that connecting with nature is good for our health, thanks to a growing body of evidence. But how do we measure a “dose” of nature? Do we get the same benefits from having plants in our offices that we do from gardening in our yards? Is looking at a picture of the ocean the same as seeing it in person? Scientists say a research effort focused on questions like these has the potential to yield public health insights. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Can Trees Help Decrease Urban Violence?
by Conni Kunzler, Alliance for Community Trees News, August 18, 2017

American Journal of Epidemiology. 186(3): 289-296.

Green space and vegetation may play a protective role against urban violence. U.S. Forest Service researchers investigated the relationships between being near urban tree cover during outdoor activities and experiencing gun violence. They found that, when participants were under tree cover, they were less likely to experience gun violence. Numerous analyses and comparative models confirmed that being under tree cover was inversely associated with gunshot assault, especially in low-income areas. The authors suggest that increases in urban greening and tree cover in low-income areas be explored as proactive strategies to decrease urban violence. (FULL STORY)

# # #

The Phenomenon Of “Crown Shyness” Where Trees Avoid Touching
by Christopher Jobson, Colossal, August 14, 2017
Crown shyness is a naturally occurring phenomenon in some tree species where the upper most branches in a forest canopy avoid touching one another. The visual effect is striking as it creates clearly defined borders akin to cracks or rivers in the sky when viewed from below. Although the phenomenon was first observed in the 1920s, scientists have yet to reach a consensus on what causes it. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Some cities have started tracking how much money their trees are earning them each year
by Jack Payne, Business Insider, August 12, 2017
Cities routinely rake up tens of millions of dollars from their urban forests annually in ways that are not always obvious. Portland, New York City, Milwaukee and Atlanta are among the cities that have quantified the payoff from pines and palms, olives and oaks. It’s part of a breakthrough in thinking among city planners in recent decades who now realize that a city runs not just on engineering, but on biology and ecology as well. But in general, few cities employ people with deep expertise in urban forestry. There’s not even consensus on a definition of urban forestry, though Beck, from Tampa, describes it as the science of addressing both people with tree problems and trees with people problems. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Finding a good tree care service
by Bay Area Consumers’ Checkbook, SF Gate, August 4, 2017
To keep your trees healthy or to get rid of dying ones, you may want the benefit of professional advice, skill and labor. To help you find it, nonprofit consumer group Bay Area Consumers’ Checkbook and Checkbook.org has surveyed its members and Consumer Reports subscribers about their experiences with area tree care services. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Amid Black Unemployment Crisis, S.F. Neighborhood Looks to Green Jobs
by Johnny Magdaleno, Next City, August 1, 2017
Throughout the city, black unemployment rates are critically high, ranking between 17 and 64 percent even though black communities only make up 4 percent of the population citywide. But programs like Greenagers, Friends of the Urban Forest, the YMCA’s Environmental Advocates Program, and others have found a niche by giving Hunters Point youth job experience that battles local environmental and health ills. (FULL STORY)

# # #

A Powerful New Therapy: Climbing Trees
by Dana Davidsen, THE DIRT (blog of the American Society of Landscape Architects), July 31, 2017
Climbing trees isn’t just for able-bodied children and adults. Dr. John Gathright believes it can be an inclusive form of therapy with the power to foster positive emotions in people of all physical and mental abilities. Gathright is the founder of Tree Climbing Japan, an organization that uses tree climbing as rehabilitation for physically-challenged people to overcome pain while improving well-being, mobility, and strength. “I believe that trees are our friends, teachers, and doctors,” Gathright said at annual conference of the International Society of Arboriculture in Washington, D.C. (FULL STORY)

# # #

What Cities are Doing to Fight Tree Vandalism
by Rachel Engel, EfficientGov, July 31, 2017
Tree vandalism in the form of poisoning or girdling—the act of stripping rings of bark, almost always resulting in the death of the tree—is devastating to local communities. Large, mature trees can be valued at $15,000 to $30,000, depending on the size and species, and the costs to replace them with young trees, as well as the time it takes to wait for them to mature, are significant. It doesn’t seem like there should be a rational answer to the reason for tree vandalism, and there’s not, but it often comes down to three possible culprits: Homeowners wanting a better view, Neighbors disputing over property or yard maintenance, General vandalism. (FULL STORY)

# # #

New York Today: The Greenest Block in Brooklyn
by Alexandra S. Levine, New York Times, July 31, 2017
This morning we bring you the winner of the Greenest Block in Brooklyn, a contest that the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has hosted for more than two decades. Drum roll, please. And the award goes to: Stuyvesant Avenue, between Bainbridge and Chauncey Streets. So we asked Nina Browne, the botanic garden’s community program manager, who has overseen the competition for years and trains the judges, how the winner is chosen. The most important of all the judging criteria, she said, is citizen participation, measured, for example, by looking for gaps in the presence of gardening on the street. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Nine Industry Leaders Chosen by the International Society of Arboriculture as 2017 “Awards of Distinction” Recipients
International Society of Arboriculture press release, PRWeb, July 30, 2017
The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), an international leader in research, education, and the promotion of professional arboriculture, recognized nine recipients for the 2017 Awards of Distinction, sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts. The Awards of Distinction were presented Sunday, July 30, during the opening ceremony of the ISA’s 93rd Annual International Conference and Trade Show, held in Washington, D.C. The 2017 winners include…. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Trees can make or break city weather
University of British Columbia press release, ScienceDaily, July 26, 2017
Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new University of British Columbia study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs. The researchers used remote-sensing laser technology to create a highly detailed computer model of a Vancouver neighbourhood down to every tree, plant and building. They then used computer simulation to determine how different scenarios — no trees, bare trees, and trees in full leaf — affect airflow and heat patterns around individual streets and houses. (FULL STORY)

# # #

SF officially reclaims responsibility for street trees
by Alena Naiden, San Francisco Examiner, July 19, 2017
San Francisco officials pruned several trees — and some residents’ stress — on Wednesday to celebrate The City reclaiming responsibility for its street canopy. Mayor Ed Lee joined other city officials and advocates in Noe Valley to kick off the Street Tree SF, a measure transferring the responsibility of about 125,000 street trees and the 31,000 sidewalks they damage from property owners to The City. (FULL STORY)

# # #

City Launches Street Tree Maintenance Program, Says It Could Take Years To Clear Backlog
by Bay City News Service, SFGate, July 19, 2017
The Street Tree SF program is the result of Proposition E, a ballot initiative approved by nearly 80 percent of voters last November. Supervisor Jeff Sheehy said getting a tree trimmed could cost at least $500, and repairing sidewalks several thousand dollars. Advocates such as Friends of the Urban Forest, meanwhile, were pushing for the city to plant and maintain more trees, while public works officials said they simply did not have the resources to manage the task. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Community Challenge Grant Living Alley Program (CA), Call for Proposals: Lily Street Living Alley Mural Project
by sjsartidea, Bay Area Art Grind, July 19, 2017
The Lily Street Living Alley Mural Project is a public art mural project on Lily Street in San Francisco, CA funded through the Community Challenge Grant Living (CCG) Alley Program and in partnership with the residents of Lily Street and Friends of the Urban Forest (sponsor). A maximum of 6 murals, averaging 400 SF, are proposed for the the 200, 300, and 400 block of Lily Street. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Massive database of 182,000 leaves is helping predict plants’ family trees
by Heidi Ledford, Nature, July 7, 2017
The story of a plant is etched in its leaves. A tree growing in a cold environment with plenty of water is more likely to have large leaves with many serrated teeth around the edges. But if the same species lives in a warm, dry region, its leaves are likely to be smaller and smoother. Now, an atlas that traces the shapes of 182,000 leaves from 141 plant families and 75 locations around the world shows promise for refining scientists’ ability to read that story. (FULL STORY)

# # #

San Francisco takes back its trees, to the relief of property owners
by Dominic Fracassa, SF Gate, July 1, 2017
Starting Saturday, the city will for the first time take full responsibility for the care and maintenance of the nearly 124,800 street trees in the city’s right of way, sweeping aside its unpopular practice of making property owners care for most of the trees. “The policy we used to have actually made no sense from so many different directions,” said Dan Flanagan, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest, which campaigned for Prop. E. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Green streets: Urban green and birth outcomes
by K. Abelt and S. McLafferty, Children & Nature Network, July 2017
A protective relationship between green space and birth outcomes has been documented in previous research. This study adds to the research base by including waterfront access (“blue space”) as a green space variable and by using street trees as an additional measure of residential greenness. This study found partial support for an association between residential greenness and birth outcomes, in that expectant mothers living in a neighborhood with fewer street trees tended to have an increased chance of a preterm birth. These findings suggest that fine-grained, street-level vegetation is more beneficial for reducing the likelihood of preterm birth than a neighborhood’s raw vegetation density. Additionally, the similarity of the relationship between street trees and the odds of preterm birth among mothers in deprived areas and mothers in non-deprived areas suggests that nearby street trees could be protective against preterm birth for pregnant women regardless of their socioeconomic status. (FULL STORY)

# # #

As cities look to get greener, lower-income residents fear gentrification
by Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, June 25, 2017
Call it the greening neighborhood conundrum. Now, designers and city officials seeking to create recreational space on abandoned industrial eyesores are increasingly recognizing — some albeit belatedly — that they have a chicken-and-egg quandary on their hands: How do you add green space in lower-income areas without inevitably setting those populations up to be displaced by more well-heeled neighbors looking to enjoy the amenities? (FULL STORY)

# # #

SF takes over tree husbandry July 1st
by Mike and Sue, Mike & Sue blog, June 21, 2017
We’re going to go out on a limb to state that July 1, 2017, will go down in history as the resurrection day for San Francisco’s urban forest. That’s the day when San Francisco Public Works takes over responsibility for the care of all the street trees. It was clear that a funding strategy was needed. In stepped the nonprofit group, Friends of the Urban Forest, which lined up support on the Board of Supervisors to place Prop. E on the November 2016 ballot. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Public Works Threatens Fines, Jail Time For Illegal Tree Removal
by Teresa Hammerl, Hoodline, June 20, 2017
Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru recently wrote on Twitter that there are “so many trees illegally cut” in San Francisco that he’s “about to start advocating for jail time.” We reached out to Nuru to learn more about how trees can be legally removed and how he plans to protect more than 124,000 street trees around the city. Thanks to the passage of Proposition E, these trees will revert to city control next month. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Treequake: A seismic shift in San Francisco urban forestry
by Ellyn Shea, Deeproot blog, June 19, 2017
Starting July 1, 2017, the City of San Francisco will start doing something it hasn’t done since the 1970s: take responsibility for all the trees in the public right-of-way. Meanwhile, FUF continue to perform community tree plantings and young tree care – with some differences. “We’re not going to have to ‘sell’ the benefits of planting trees to property owners anymore,” FUF Program Director Karla Nagy told me, referring to the current model where homeowners have to agree to care for a tree for its natural life after planting. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Love them or hate them, ficus trees lining city streets are dying from a new fungal disease
by Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 17, 2017
Tens of thousands of mature street trees in Southern California are susceptible to a new, deadly fungal strain that kills at alarming speeds and threatens to destroy the urban forest in older cities known for their tree-lined streets, scientists say. Branch die back disease caused by botryosphaeria fungus has already infected more than 25 percent of the region’s ficus trees, also know as Indian laurel-leaf fig, said Donald Hodel, researcher and horticultural advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles. (FULL STORY)

# # #

SOMA alley leather walk takes shape
by Matthew S. Bajko, Bay Area Reporter, June 15, 2017
The $2 million alleyway project, officially known as the San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley, has been nearly a decade in the making. Developer 4Terra Investments, which built the LSeven mixed-use housing project that fronts Ringold Alley, paid for the leather historical elements as part of the capital improvements it was required to fund. Thursday the Friends of the Urban Forest will be planting 19 street trees along the block: 11 Acer rubrum Armstrong, a Columnar Red Maple, three Arbutus Marina, a strawberry tree, and five Tristania laurina, a water gum native to Australia. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Trees of Life
by Tom Molanphy, SF Weekly, June 14, 2017
On a fog-filled, June-gloom day, 20 or so people mill around on a Cole Valley sidewalk. These are volunteers for Friends of the Urban Forest, and they’re about to attempt what Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York’s Central Park, famously said would “not be wise nor safe to undertake” in San Francisco. They are about to plant trees. Prop. E covers the maintenance of the current forest but not the planting of new trees, so fundraisers by organizations like FUF, a nonprofit started in 1981 by concerned citizens in Noe Valley who thought San Francisco was not planting enough trees, are necessary to sustain the urban forest. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Unpermitted removal of tree owned by city angers Noe Valley residents
by Bill Disbrow, SF Gate, June 12, 2017
Operators of a Noe Valley apartment complex could be on the hook for thousands after a cypress owned by the city was removed without a permit last week. The tree once towered over an apartment complex across the street from Douglass Playground. “The fine would be based on the assessed value of the tree. The fine could be $10,000 or more; our arborists are reviewing,” said Rachel Gordon of the San Francisco Department of Public Works. “The loss of this majestic tree is a black mark on our urban forestry.” (FULL STORY)

# # #

City-owned Noe Valley tree chopped illegally, neighbors furious
by Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, June 9, 2017
Residents and neighbors of the apartment building at 610-660 Clipper Street woke up to a nasty shock Thursday, as the towering Juniper tree on the corner of Clipper and Douglass (right across the street from the Douglass Playground) was gone, leaving nothing but the melancholic smell of fresh sawdust. This unfortunate felling could turn into a big problem. The chopped tree was owned by the city. It was also allegedly one of the oldest and tallest public trees in Noe Valley. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Researchers answer ‘how green are urban trees?’ question
AmericanHort Press Release, June 8, 2017
Trees are natural contenders to sequester carbon in efforts to mitigate climate change. However, carbon is released into the atmosphere during production and maintenance practices, such as planting, pruning, irrigation and even removal upon tree death. Pruning styles and frequency, for example, have a great impact on carbon emissions. Researchers led by Dr. Dewayne Ingram, University of Kentucky, set out to determine at what point urban trees sequester as much carbon as is emitted during maintenance practices over their lifespan. Another way to phrase this is: at what point do urban trees become carbon neutral? (FULL STORY)

# # #

Restore our connection to nature in The City
by Debbie Raphael, San Francisco Examiner, June 5, 2017
Today is World Environment Day. Some may think San Francisco doesn’t have much nature to celebrate, but in fact, we are recognized as an urban biodiversity hotspot. In April of this year, a group of scientists proposed a new Global Deal for Nature, similar in scope to the Paris Climate Agreement, in which 50 percent of land would be conserved for nature through habitat protection and restoration. This bold vision is inspired by “Nature Needs Half,” a campaign promoted by the Wild Cities network, of which San Francisco is a founding member. (FULL STORY)

# # #

Apple Park’s Tree Whisperer
by Steven Levy, Backchannel, June 1, 2017
At first glance, it might have seemed an unusual meeting between Steve Jobs and David Muffly. Jobs was a world-renowned technologist billionaire, and Muffly an itinerant arborist whose passion was the soil. But at this first meeting in 2010, Muffly learned that he and Steve Jobs shared a love of trees, and in particular a passion for the foliage native to the pre-Silicon Valley landscape, before big tech companies showed up and changed it. The encounter would lead to Muffly becoming the senior arborist at Apple, Inc., in charge of choosing, locating and planting the 9,000 trees that justify Apple’s choice to call its 175-acre campus a park – and in making Apple Park a leaf-and-blossom tribute to the CEO who designed it but would not live to see it built. Or planted. (FULL STORY)

# # #